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Former Michigan Official and Wife Found Guilty of Extortion

A federal jury in Ann Arbor, MI, found Wilbourne Kelley III, a former Wayne County senior official overseeing airport contracts, and his wife, Barbara Kelley, guilty of 14 counts of extortion, bribery, and making false statements. The charges arise from Wilbourne Kelley’s extortion of over $125,000 from American International Inc. (A/I), a construction firm which had contracted with the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to provide runway lighting and signage. That contract ballooned from $11.1 million to $19.9 million between 1994 and 1997, while A/I also paid the Kelleys over $125,000 to meet a number of their personal expenses including: roof replacement, home repairs, oriental rugs, and a gown for Barbara Kelley. Sentencing is set for January 11, 2005. The investigation was conducted jointly with the FBI and the Michigan State Police.